Monday, September 09, 2013

Feel good hits of the 9th September

1. 'Marathon Man' - The Icarus Line
Enough of the dead-eyed Stones pastiches - Slave Vows is back to business for The Icarus Line. 'Marathon Man' is typically dark-hearted, sinister and nihilistic, electrified by some of the most bloodcurdlingly screaming guitar you'll ever hear. And is that a Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds influence I detect?

2. 'Master Of My Craft' - Parquet Courts
The opening track of Light Up Gold, responsible for me walking around repeatedly muttering "Fuh-GET aboud it". Also contains the marvellous line "Socrates died in the FU-CKING gutter".

3. 'World Split Open' - Arbouretum
The highlight of Arbouretum's recent sold-out Oxford show, upstairs in a sweltering Port Mahon. On that evidence, and the evidence of sixth album Coming Out Of The Fog on which 'World Split Open' features, the trio very pleasingly join the dots between My Morning Jacket and Dead Meadow.

4. 'The Seer' - Swans
Swans' The Seer was very enthusiastically recommended to me by a friend when he noticed that it was one of the records that didn't cross my path during 2012. I'm not sure how it compares to previous Swans albums, but it's pretty extraordinary in its own right. Still not sure that the intense, gruelling 32-minute-long title track is ideal for the commute to work, but there you go.

5. 'Dropla' - Youth Lagoon
Trevor Powers' first album was called The Year Of Hibernation. With Wondrous Bughouse, and tracks like 'Dropla' in particular, he sounds as though he's ready to come out into the world. As Pitchfork reviewer Evan Minsker notes, with each repetition of the line "You'll never die", "it becomes increasingly unclear whether he's offering an easily broken optimistic promise or a fearful, anxious wish".

6. 'Monoliths' - Lotus Plaza
Try as it might, my stereo just can't seem to shake off Spooky Action At A Distance for much longer than about three days. Terrible shame, that.

7. 'Slab Square' - Six By Seven
This year's brilliant comeback LP Love And Peace And Sympathy had the happy effect of sending me back to reassess and reappraise their former glories. I'm pleased to report that The Closer You Get still sounds fantastic thirteen years on, and this blistering punch to the gut referencing their native Nottingham's Market Square remains a particular favourite.

8. 'The Diamond Sea' - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
How come I'd never heard that Karen O and company had recorded an acoustic, abbreviated cover of the Sonic Youth classic? A triumph, and significantly superior to most of Mosquito...

9. 'Superstar' - The Carpenters
From a Sonic Youth cover to a song Sonic Youth have covered. Sorry Kim, Thurston, Lee and Steve, but I think the original's better...

10. 'The Bee And The Cracking Egg' - Comets On Fire
Their presence on the bill for the final ATP weekend at Camber Sands sent me back to this track - a dizzying sonic assault that manages to shoehorn several sublime riffs into its seven-and-a-bit minutes.

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